"It's going to be difficult to get out of the pool," says Howard. "It's not just about Munster and Leicester - Cardiff and Bourgoin will be very competitive so it's a very difficult group. It's definitely going to be tough all the way through. We know expectation is high but we also know it's going to be tough to achieve step one which is to get out of the pool."
Much has been made of the importance of Sunday's match, with Howard agreeing that it will obviously have an important bearing on the outcome of the group.
"I'm sure Munster will look at it the same way, and that's that you have to go a minimum of five wins and one loss if you want to make it out of the pool. If you lose the first one, then obviously you've got to win the next five, as Munster did last year. There's no such thing as must wins in the first game, but there's no doubt it's important."